MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Nineteen people with cans of wood protectant and a sprayer prepared themselves for a short jaunt through the woods behind the Marsh Building, ready to help Matt Pike, 15, and his grandfather, retired Lt. Col. Peter Pike, complete the restoration of all 12 benches along the mainside trail system aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on Saturday.
The restoration project is part of Matt’s Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project and involves Quantico’s Boy Scout Troop 176, it is a requirement he will need to complete in order to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.
Matt got the idea through his trips to the trails where he found that there was indeed a need for the trails to be maintained and, more importantly, the benches-constantly exposed to the elements and daily use-to be preserved for future use.
After all, trees fall and so does rain, so a good cleaning and a layer of protectant is exactly what Matt had in mind when he set out to complete this project and restore all of the benches.
“I really wanted to complete this project so people will have a place to sit, rest and enjoy the view along the trails,” he said. “I thought to myself, if they bring their family out here they won’t have to sit on the mold [and other build up], they will be able to sit on clean benches.”
His grandfather, a 40 year Marine veteran, helped him throughout the process, a process he sees as a family tradition.
“This has been a really good experience, one I can pass on to my family,” he said. “Then they can pass it on to their family, they can say that their parents were in the scouts and they got to Eagle.”
While he has ambitions for his family; Matt has his friends and the fellow members of his troop targeted for a more immediate impact.
“They should also do a community project and they should all reach for Eagle Scout, because the more Eagles, the more community service, the more community service, the better and cleaner the community will be for other people,” he added.
While the project only took a small amount of his time to complete, in the grand scheme of things, his plan to spread the word has gotten into the minds of the troop leadership and is resonating outward.
“Really, the Scouts are very similar to Marines in a sense,” said Alvaro Salazar, assistant scout master for Quantico’s Boy Scout Troop 176 and a gunnery sergeant who works at Quantico’s Warfighting Lab. “As a group, I enjoy being a part of the organization. The Boy Scouts of America, they really do a good job of implementing some of the things that [translate well] into a working environment-which are the basic leadership traits and principles.”
The comparisons are uncanny, Salazar said. He just enjoys watching the scouts do what Scouts do and it always leads him to the realization that, “these kids are the future.”
After all of the scrubbing and effort in regard to Matt’s project, he still has to submit his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project workbook as a part of his application for promotion.
“I have to get all of the papers signed and do an overview of the project for the [Eagle Scout Review Board] and that may take some time.”
He did, however, say he was not worried about it getting approved, “No, I am pretty confident.”